The Congress on Saturday released a video of an interaction between former party chief Rahul Gandhi and a group of migrant workers who were walking back to their village in Uttar Pradesh from Haryana during the lockdown.
The interaction took place on May 16 near the Sukhdev Vihar flyover in New Delhi. The workers were on their way from Ambala to Jhansi, a distance of about 600 km. Gandhi met them when they stopped to rest, after walking over 100 km.
In the 17-minute video, Gandhi is seen sitting on a footpath with the migrants.
For almost an hour, he listened to their story, their hardships and the reasons for deciding to flee their workplace and why they were forced to walk home, and also their fears, and aspirations, the Congress said.
At the request of the group, Gandhi and Congress volunteers organised transport and the necessary permits to get them back to their village,the party added.
In the video, Mahesh Kumar, a migrant worker, tells :“We are helpless. What can we do? We have to walk.”
Another construction worker and his family members tell Gandhi that they would have left for their homes had there been prior information about the lockdown
The workers remained non-committal about returning to their work places.
Gandhi concluded the video with a message :“My brother and sisters, you are the strength of this country, you carry the burden of this country on your shoulders. The entire country wants justice (nyay) for you.”
The BJP reacted sharply to the documentary.
“Rahul Gandhi has been indulging in camera politics by visiting and speaking to migrants in non-Congress ruled states. He has not given them any relief but indulges in misery politics,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.“From Ambala in Haryana, Rajasthan (ruled bythe Congress) is only a few km away. He would have heard woes of migrants in Rajasthan had he ventured there. Alas, Rahul is only interested in politics and not helping migrants.”